Industry Rejoices as Swipe Fee Reform Is Signed Into Law

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Industry Rejoices as Swipe Fee Reform Is Signed Into Law


Trade groups representing the retail industry celebrated the final step in the journey of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which was signed into law by President Obama yesterday. The swipe fee provision included in the legislation will ensure that the fees charged by banks and credit card companies for accepting debit cards are “reasonable and proportional” to cost and give merchants the ability to offer discounts to customers for using less expensive forms of payment.

“Retailers and their customers are winners [now],” exulted Leslie G. Sarasin, FMI president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based Food Marketing Institute. “Consumers have been paying more than $50 billion a year in hidden swipe fees to credit card companies and banks every time they swipe their credit or debit card.”

“The swipe fee reforms signed into law … by President Obama will benefit America’s retailers, small and large, and their customers by reining in the excessive debit swipe fees imposed by credit card companies and big banks,” noted Sandy Kennedy, president of the Arlington-based Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), extending special thanks to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who introduced swipe fee reform in an amendment to the bill, and Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) “for standing up for America’s retailers and consumers.”

The bottom line, however, is the new law “means that things just got easier for business owners and their customers,” according to the Washington-based Merchants Payments Coalition (MPC), which represents nearly 100 associations (including FMI, N.G.A. and RILA) representing retailers, supermarkets, drug stores, convenience stores, fuel stations, online merchants and other businesses that accept debit and credit cards.

“This bill represents the sort of Main Street stimulus that this country has been waiting for — and brings real, tangible benefits for merchants and their customers,” noted MPC. “The president’s signature on financial reform legislation gives us the ability to lower our costs, create more jobs, provide more benefits for our customers, and keep growing and contributing to the economy.”